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The Sciences

Having a BLAST at Penn


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My colleague Mark Devlin is the Principal Investigator of the Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST). BLAST is a terrific experiment that does a number of different things, including studying the history of galaxy formation through measuring the cosmic infrared background produced by star-forming galaxies. Over at In the Dark, Peter Coles has also discussed BLAST, since the Cardiff group are a big part of the experiment. This week has been a big one for BLAST, seeing the publication of a host of papers, including a major results paper appearing in Nature. In addition, the science writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer - Faye Flam - wrote a nice article about the experiment, describing not only the results, but the compelling and dramatic story associated with the recovery of the data. Remarkably, Mark's brother, Paul, who is a documentary film maker, was covering the experiment when all the excitement happened, and the result is a riveting movie titled, not surprisingly, BLAST!, that is being screened on Wednesday evening on the Penn campus. We saw a clip of this at our recent launch event for the Center for Particle Cosmology, and it's a great advertisement for science as an exciting endeavor. I hope you'll see the movie, so I won't spoil the surprise by discussing what happened. But here's the trailer!

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